Lynda Rozell, author of Journeys with a Tin Can Pilgrim (https://tincanpilgrimbook.com/), was a guest in my Virtue Circle women’s zoom group last Sunday. She travels around the country in her Airstream trailer going where the Holy Spirit leads (she adds that her Spiritual Director also keeps her on track). I call her “The Stealth Evangelist.”
As she goes from campground to gas station to rest stop, God puts people in her path. Their interactions go from quick, friendly chats while hiking to long talks over tea or at night around the campfire. The conversations often touch on faith.
Evangelization can be a scary word. Early in my own conversion I announced, “I’m not standing on a street corner with a bullhorn asking people, Do you know Jesus?”—because that’s what I thought evangelization was. And I knew it repels more people than it attracts. Not me!
But Lynda’s “soft evangelization” is something we all can do. And we can do it without adding anything to our to-do list! It doesn’t take time, it just takes a little prayer and practice.
Even if our travels are only round trips to the grocery store, we’re not so different from the Tin Can Pilgrim. God puts people in our path all the time. Like Lynda, we can weave our love of God into our demeanor and conversation, just by being ourselves. We just need to remember that we’re planting seeds, not chalking up visible results. God gives us the seeds, but the fruit is all up to him.
That was tough for Lynda at first because she had been a project manager used to measuring results. But she had to let go of that. The benefit of not racking up visible results is that we can relax and just pray, love God in the person we’re talking to, and leave the converting up to God.
Below are some simple ways Lynda gently shares the Good News, who is Jesus Christ. My comments are in italic.
10 easy ways to evangelize (softly)
When someone shares her pain with you, ask if you can pray for her. If she says yes, add, “Okay, let’s pray right now.”
Ask people to pray for you. It’s surprising how even non-believers are touched by this request and will say, “Oh! Okay…sure.”
Just think—it may be the first intentional contact they’ve made with God in their lives.
When you feel joy in creation, comment on what a beautiful sunset or blue-sky God has created today.
When things go wrong, be the one who stays calm. When Lynda shared a canoe with a guide in Florida, the guide dumped the canoe over getting out to help someone in the alligator-infested water. Lynda went in, too, and came out with legs covered in swamp mud. The guide later asked her why she wasn’t upset. She explained that she has a great guardian angel and knows that God put her there that day for a particular reason. “Just be honest,” she adds. “If you’ve integrated faith into your life, don’t hide it.”
If you bring up the subject of faith and the person rejects it, gently ask him, “What do you believe?” This is an opportunity to listen and let him be heard. He may even follow with a question about faith.
Pray before meals at home and in public.
Soon after my conversion, I was at lunch with a man who silently bowed his head for a moment before digging in. My heart was so moved by his simple devotion, I’ve been doing the same ever since.
If you have to decline an invitation or leave early from an event to get to Mass, be honest if someone asks why. In Lynda’s case, when a fellow camper asks where she’s going so early in the morning, she tells them she’s on her way to daily Mass.
Invite people to Mass, especially if they have accepted your offer to pray for them. Lynda says, “Even if they say, ‘That’s okay…but let me know how it was,’” you’ve planted a seed.
Let the saints plant seeds for you! A couple of fellow campers told Lynda they had been trying to sell their house for a year and the deals kept falling through. Lynda suggested that they ask St. Joseph to pray. Although they were Presbyterian, they said, “We’ll try anything at this point.” They did, and came back to the campground excited after a few days home—the house had sold for even more than they had been offered before.
There is more power in a baptized person in a state of grace then we know. Your presence as a “walking tabernacle” is felt as God’s presence. Even if they don’t recognize it, the Holy Spirit is working through you—by just being yourself.
Scroll down and share one thing you’re doing or think you’d like to try—to let the Holy Spirit work more powerfully through you in your everyday life.